Clinical trials are the last step to progress

Clinical trials are one of the final stages of a long and careful cancer research process. They can only take place after satisfactory information has been gathered from laboratory research. Even the most promising scientific findings must first be proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials before they can be used as standard treatment.

The cancer treatments that are used today were developed and tested in clinical trials. Susan G. Komen San Diego has contributed over $19 million in research funds since 1995. Of every individual dollar raised, 75 percent funds local programs; 25 percent funds international research. Through Komen research grants, we’ve helped support more than 450 clinical trials.

Last year, the Komen California Collaborative Public Policy Committee successfully advocated for a bill (AB 1823) to establish the California Cancer Clinical Trials Program.

The goal of this program is to increase patient access to eligible cancer clinical trials in underserved or disadvantaged communities and populations. Now, people who have difficulty accessing health services, have financial barriers, or have been identified as priority populations can more easily participate in clinical trials.  Thanks to this bill, participation rates will climb, ensuring these trials are widely accessible, improve the development of therapies, and enhance innovation. 

This program is now housed and run by the University of California at UCSD.

For more information on this program and clinical trials available throughout the country, please call Susan G. Komen’s Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Information Helpline at 1-877-465-6636. This toll-free helpline aims to increase understanding of breast cancer clinical trials, give people the information and resources they need to make an educated decision about clinical trial enrollment and make it easier for breast cancer patients to participate in and potentially benefit from promising research.

Komen trials examine a broad range of areas:

  • Identifying the causes of breast cancer
  • New approaches to cancer prevention, including preventative drugs, nutritional approaches and changes in lifestyle and behavior
  • New methods for early detection, screening and diagnosis of breast cancer including new technologies like ultrasound tomography and blood tests that measure biomarkers
  • New approaches to surgery and radiation therapy
  • New anticancer drugs for breast cancer, including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy agents 
  • New combinations of treatments 
  • Complementary and alternative cancer therapies 
  • Supportive care to understand the impact and identify the needs breast cancer patients and their families, and test new approaches for communicating about breast health 
  • Quality of life studies for alleviating side-effects of breast cancer treatment


Questions to ask

If you‘re thinking about taking part in a clinical trial, it’s important to be informed and ask the right questions. Before joining a clinical trial, talk to the research coordinator, nurse or physician from the study. For more information and some questions you might want to ask, click here to visit our “Questions to Ask Your Doctor” discussion guides.